Sunday, February 07, 2010

[Hannah]: DIY wedding flowers

Good morning! Yesterday a friend and I practiced arranging flowers, because my wedding flowers will be DIY.

First we went to the San Francisco Flower Mart. This is a bunch of separate wholesalers that sell to retailers early in the morning and then open up to the public around 10 AM. Word to the wise, they say on their website that they are open until 3 PM on Saturdays, but we came at 1 PM and almost everything was already closed. There were a few stands left and plenty of flowers but to get the full effect, come before 11. Or so said the guy at one of the last open flower marts who started teasing us for being so tardy.

Here's what it looked like when we were there:

We tried to get a mix of different sizes of flowers and some leaves for "filler." We were a bit hazy as to the ratio of flowers to filler that would be required. I like light and bright colors so I got mostly yellow, white and pink flowers. I also bought some floral tape (this is absolutely essential), floral wire, and pearl-headed pins.

Then we took the flowers home.

First I made a bouquet. This is much trickier than it looks because your eye is very eager to see colors "clumping" together so if you want them to look evenly distributed you have to be very careful. Strip all the leaves off the flowers first. Then you start with a few sturdy flowers clumped together in the middle, hold them in your hand pointing straight up. (If I were doing this for real I would floral-tape this first clump together. Then you have to start placing the flowers around the center ones, keeping an even distribution of large and small, yellow, pink and white. And - this is important - you have to place all the new flowers slightly at an angle so they start to make, like, the top of a dome. This is very important. If you put all the flowers in with stems vertical it will just make a blob of flowers. The problem is that it's very hard to hold the slight angle particularly as you rotate the bouquet in your hand. The flowers kept moving against each other and I had to go back and re-dome them a lot of times. I think this site explains the process better than I can. At the end the stems will all sort of spiral around each other.

Note: this takes a LOT of flowers. I think there are probably 24-30 stems in the bouquet I ended up making.

I learned a lot doing this project but it was the kind of thing you really had to "feel" to get right. NO amount of reading internet descriptions could have made some of this stuff clear to me. Nevertheless, here I am putting it on the internet, so at least I can remember what I learned:

- filler leaves are useless if they are floppy. THey are supposed to take up space and if they just fall down out of wherever you put them, it's not going to work.

- A mix of flower sizes and shapes look good, but one shape/size should be dominant in order to make it much easier to form the dome shape. I don't know the exact ratio that would work best but my bouquet had about half gerbera daisies, and half is a bad number. If it was 2/3 gerbera daisies, then the rest of the filler could have been just about any size and shape and the dome would still work. I think it could also work if it was, say, 1/2 gerbera daisies and 1/4 smaller daisies, cause they would still have that daisy shape. Or 1/2 big roses and 1/4 ranunculus (which look like little roses). and then the last 1/4 filler or baby's breath or whatever.

- My gerbera daisies saved this project. They are big, so they take up a lot of space. They are sturdy, so you can manhandle them a lot while you are fixing your mistakes and they will forgive you. If the heads are tilted in a weird way, you can poke floral wire up through the head, bend it again like a fish hook, pull the other end down through the flower head, tape it together, and it will hold the angle of the flower head in the way that you want it.

- White, pink, and yellow together remind me of Easter. So, if I do not want to be reminded of Easter I need to do white, orange and yellow maybe. THe little bits of purple look good too.

- Beware the flower in which multiple small heads grow at very different heights on the same stem. This is a waste because, remember, we need to control the height of every flower in the bunch in order for it to be visible. If you cut it into individual stems, most of the stems will end up being too short for the bouquet. But if you leave them all on, only the flower at the top will be visible in your bouquet.

- That said, tiny dainty sprays of flowers, which I first thought would be a disaster, worked fine in the bouquet - I just had to poke them in from the top after the dome was otherwise finished. That way the pressure of the other flowers kept the spray stuck together. That's the purple in the finished bouquet I posted below.

- Cats love this project because it has a lot of long twitchy stems flying around and a lot of things that made rustling noises. I did this at the house of my friend who has a 10 year old cat who mostly just sits and stares at the wall all day, and even he felt compelled to come over and "help." If your cat is more active you will have to put her in the bedroom while you do this project.

Finished product!

We also did boutonnieres and table arrangements but I have to do a lot of homework today so I will post about those later.


At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Online koozies said...

So colorful . I love your post !


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